COVID-19 claims 18,000 jobs in India’s aviation sector

Job losses in India’s aviation sector – April to August 2020

More than 18,000 jobs have been lost in India’s aviation sector over a four month period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said today.

The biggest loss was among ground handling crews, with 8,466 people losing their jobs in this segment. The total number of ground handling crew, who are in charge of managing ground operations at various airports, has fallen to 29,254 by the end of July from 37,720 at the end of March, the minister informed today.

Among airline staff, the loss was of 5,298 jobs, taking the total number to 69,589 from 74,887 four months earlier.

In addition, 3,246 airport employees were also let go during this period, and there were 64,514 airport employees at the end of July.

Finally, cargo operators reduced their total headcount by 1,017, bringing down the total number of their employees to 8,538.


At the same time, the total number of domestic air travelers dipped by almost 80% to 1.21 cr during the four months from 5.85 cr during the same period last year.

The number of international air travelers fell even more, by around 88%, to 11.55 lakh from 93.45 lakh last year.

Not surprisingly, the revenue of Indian airlines fell from 25,517 cr to Rs 3,651 cr, and that of airport operators fell from Rs 5,745 cr to Rs 894.

Out of the Rs 3,651 cr revenue reported by Indian carriers, almost half — Rs 1,531 cr — was accounted for by Air India alone.

Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages most of the airports in India, is likely to sustain a net loss this year and has taken a Fund Based Working Capital loan of Rs 1,500 cr from State Bank of India for meeting working capital requirements, the minister added.

AAI has meanwhile allowed a three-month deferral for monthly fee payments to Delhi International Airport and Mumbai International Airport, and four months for Bangalore and Hyderabad airports for the payment of concession fees.


Traffic stats at Indian sea ports

Sea ports too have been impacted by the COVID-19 lock-down, but the disruption has been far less than what has been seen in the aviation sector.

Total traffic coming via various ports under the ministry of shipping fell by 21% in April and by 23% in May.

However, by June, the gap (vs June 2019) had narrowed to 14.6% and further to 13.2% in July. As of August, the year-on-year decline in total traffic movement in sea ports had fallen to 10.2%.